Information about diets, fat, cholesterol, etc. is still arriving in many forms. One of the most fascinating research reports was in the October 25, 1997 issue of Science News and the December 1997 issue of Health Revelations. Researchers in Leiden in the Netherlands studied a group of over 700 elderly individuals in their 70s, 80s, and 90s, over a period of years. Their results were short and simple. The subjects with the lowest cholesterol died the soonest. The ones with the highest cholesterol lived the longest. The low-cholesterol group (levels under 194) had fewer deaths from cardiovascular causes but more deaths from cancer, infections, and respiratory disease. The high cholesterol group had levels higher than 251. The only explanation offered was that these elderly must have been people not susceptible to heart problems. The susceptible would have been already weeded out by their 70s. So those of us in that age range can stop being conned by the establishment.
The November 1, 1997 issue of Science News reported a study comparing two forms of polyunsaturated fat, the kind given a blanket endorsement by the establishment. Omega 3 is found in ocean fish, flaxseed, green vegetables, and some nuts (the ones grown in the north). Omega 6 is found in corn oil and the majority of similar vegetable oils used in modern processed foods. In recent years, the omega 6 has been climbing in the standard western diet while the omega 3 now only makes up about 7% of our vegetable oil consumption. The researchers discovered that when omega 3 drops below 50% of the oil consumption, the body blocks the formation of new bone. Osteoporosis for all the lovers of prepared foods which are loaded with omega 6. Or, eat your fish or flaxseed oil.
The September 21, 1996 issue of Science News reported that smaller diameters on the low density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol) showed more danger of a heart attack. They proved more indicative than blood pressure, weight, total cholesterol in the blood, and serum triglycerides. The only measure which was more useful in forecasting a threat to the heart was the ratio of low to high density lipoproteins. A different study also fingered small sized LDL but found triglycerides more important. Recent studies claim that low levels of high density lipoproteins and high triglycerides are both much more dangerous than higher low density lipoproteins or an overall high level of cholesterol. Another report in the same issue described lipids as “mood-altering.” A study in France found more suicides among men with low cholesterol. A study in Vienna found more postpartum depression in women whose cholesterol level dropped following pregnancy. At least a few researchers are asking whether low cholesterol is such a good idea for people who are not at high risk for heart problems.
I bought a large and technical book last spring called Lipids, Health, and Behavior. It was edited by Marc Hillibrand and Reuben T Spitz and published by the American Psychological Association. I have not had the time to read it, but can report some highlights from brief forays into it. Lipid is the technical term for fat.
Higher serum cholesterol levels are found in people clinically considered depressed, with serious anxiety, and Type A personalities, The latter tend to be hostile and angry. Type A people are at risk for heart problems. The question is asked: do these emotions raise the cholesterol level or does cholesterol affect the personality? The obvious answer is that life is circular. The mind and body constantly influence each other.
Patients with high triglycerides report mood improvements when these levels drop. However, similar emotional problems appear in people with low cholesterol. The consensus seems to be that moderate is better. Either too high or too low is associated with problems.
Cholesterol plays a vital role in every cell, influencing the transmission of neurochemicals, especially serotonin. Changing levels of cholesterol can impact the effect of drugs on the cells, ranging from blocking any effect to having a toxic effect.
Experiments with primates have demonstrated an increase in aggression when their levels of cholesterol are lowered, reinforcing a number of studies which found more suicides and accidental deaths among humans with low cholesterol.
The authors of one chapter in the book found that individuals with violent histories had altered cholesterol levels and theorized that this was connected to their cell membranes’ inability to function normally. Low cholesterol was also found associated with slower mental functioning. Adequate cholesterol (partly provided by saturated fat and partly made by the liver) may be especially essential during the rapid brain development of young children.
In a previous issue of The Mutable Dilemma, I reported on clinics which were curing epileptic children with a diet of over 50% fat, especially cream and butter. I have also mentioned that a high-fat diet used to be prescribed for diabetics since starchy carbohydrates immediately turn into sugar in the body and require insulin. Dr. Atkins reports that the official studies of diabetics which are quoted by the establishment only compared a diet of high carbohydrates with one of moderate carbohydrates. They did NOT look at a low carbohydrate diet. So much for the fad/bias of the moment.
A book only recently acquired and much less scholarly is The Cholesterol Hoax by Sheldon Zerdon. There is a lot of repetition in the book, but it also includes quite a few relevant statistics which the author has gathered. Among his tidbits: The cholesterol levels of the Chinese are between 150 and 160 mg./dl. The leading cause of death in Beijing is cerebral vascular disease due to atherosclerosis. Northern Indians eat lots of saturated fats. Southern Indians eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet. The Southern Indians have 15 times more heart disease. The Bedouins in Israel, who had been eating animal fat in the desert, began eating vegetable fat as they moved into the town, and then their problems with coronary heart disease began. The increase in heart problems in the U.S. early in this century followed the increased use of white flour, sugar, and hydrogenated oils which produce transfatty acids. The decrease since the mid-1960s may be partly due to increased use of vitamin supplements, especially B6, B12, and folic acid which counteract homocysteine. A theory proposed some 30 years ago suggested that it rather than cholesterol was the cause of the loss of elasticity, hardening, calcification, etc. of the arteries. Prior to the increase in heart attacks, Americans ate much more saturated fat and much less sugar. Our animal fat consumption declined from 25 pounds to 10.2 pounds per capita. Our vegetable fat consumption increased from 10 pounds to 50.4 pounds. Our sugar consumption has climbed from 15 pounds a year to 150 pounds. When we add starches like pasta, rice, and potatoes which are immediately converted into sugar in the body, the annual total is 200 pounds a year. A 10 ounce glass of orange juice has the equivalent of 9 teaspoons of sugar, the same as a 12 oz can of coke. At least, the orange juice has some vitamins, though the whole orange is far better for you.
I don’t have a reference for it, but an interview on Jim Lehrer’s News Hour on PBS discussed a recent report from doctors at Harvard University. The doctor being interviewed said repeatedly that it was not the amount of fat we ate that was dangerous, but the hydrogenated fats with their transfatty acids. Among other items, instead of just asking people what they ate, they have actually analyzed the body fat of a group of women and found that the ones with breast cancer had more transfatty acids in their fat cells. Yet, health conscious people are still calling for margarine in recipes.
What does all of the preceding have to do with astrology? Ancient tradition associates sugar with Venus and fat with Jupiter—our two great “benefics” provided they do not seduce us into excess. Jupiter is associated with faith. It is not surprising that low cholesterol leads to violent behavior, aggression, accidents, and suicide. Be selective and moderate in your fat and sugar intake, and keep your faith. Eggs are good for you!
The April 1997 issue of Alternatives, one of my newsletters on complementary medicine, describes a variety of research which reinforces the recent study at Harvard on the dangers of the transfatty acids which Dr. Williams calls “fake fats.” Williams reports that for some years, the rising incidence of skin cancer was blamed on the reduction in the ozone in earth’s atmosphere which provides protection from ultraviolet light. Current work suggests that the ozone layer has natural fluctuations, and that our relatively new “fake foods” may be implicated in the increasing skin cancer in the world. One study done by an Australian researcher named Dr. Vivienne Reeve fed different kinds of fats to animals and compared their effects on the immune systems. The animals fed the sunflower oil or margarine lost their ability to prevent skin irritation and skin cancer. In fact, as the dietary intake of polyunsaturated sunflower oil was increased from five percent to 20 percent, the animals developed more tumors, had an increased progression of benign tumors to malignant forms, and experienced reduced survival rates. On the other hand, animals given butter, a natural, unaltered fat, had a significant increase in their resistance to skin cancer. When the amount of butter was increased from five percent to 20 percent, the animals were afforded almost complete protection. The amount of carotene, vitamin E, D, and A consumed by the animals, did not seem to have any significant bearing on the final results.
Another study by Dr. Reeve has investigated the effects of several compounds on the immune systems of animals. In particular, she has found that the more THI consumed, the more it suppresses the immune system, which means, the less able it is to destroy cancer cells which we all produce from time to time. Cola drinks and most commercially-processed brownish foods get their brown color from THI. Coca-Cola has a patent on THI for its ability to suppress the immune system! The U.S. trade balance gets a nice boost from the export of this treasure to the rest of the world while Americans are currently consuming about 50 gallons of soda a year and only 40 gallons of water.. The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia has found that THI is so successful at suppressing the immune system that it would be an ideal candidate to test in the treatment of autoimmune diseases and in tissue and organ transplants to help avoid rejection.
Dr. Williams supports theories I have discussed in previous issues of The Mutable Dilemma, including evidence that coconut oil is healthy and helpful. He recommends eating moderate amounts of butter and coconut (unsweetened) and enjoying the sun. The winter 1997 issue of the Health Journal published by the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation offers additional information on the work by Australian researchers. They have isolated at least four components in butterfat that are anticarcinogenic—that protect humans from cancer. They include butyric acid, conjugated linoleic acid, sphingomyelin and other lipids. These substances inhibit the formation and growth of tumors. Cows fed on green growing plants transfer anticarcinogenic agents to their milk and milk fat.
The journal just cited also has several items on the hazards of excessive use of soy products. They increase estrogen in the body and depress the thyroid gland, potentially leading to goiters. A study of infants fed soy formula found that they had concentrations of estrogen compounds at levels 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than infants on milk based formula or breast milk. What are the likely results of such excesses, especially in male infants? We would assume that estrogen encourages behavior traditionally rated as more female while astrological theory associates the thyroid with Mars and traditional male behavior. As usual, moderation is sensible.
In his warning against colas, Dr. Williams also mentioned their high sugar content as a potential danger. In his October 1997 issue of Alternatives, he describes some fascinating research connecting glucose, a form of sugar, to alcohol. In a recent study, researchers measured the blood alcohol levels in 36 patients who were undergoing a glucose-tolerance test to see how well the pancreas of each person was handling sugar. Before the test, only 2 of the patients had measurable blood levels of ethanol (alcohol) in their blood. An hour after the test, 69% of the patients had measurable blood levels of ethanol. The researchers found that 61% of individuals with suspected intestinal Candida infections had such a reaction to only 5 grams of glucose—a very small amount. Their bodies produced alcohol. Dr. Williams suggests that the “sugar high” exhibited by some children might be due to such a reaction. In a previous Mutable Dilemma, I mentioned the danger of excessive fructose in the diet. Normal sugar can be metabolized by every cell in the body. Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver, which is our organ that processes alcohol. In the studies of children which denied that sugar contributed to hyperactive behavior, I doubt that anyone compared the reactions of eating normal sugar with the high fructose sweetened products which are currently pervasive. As always, more research is needed, by aware individuals who have not “bought” the establishment dogma.